ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Freelance Photography: Animal Photography

Updated on May 10, 2011

There are all types of freelance photographers and finding the photos that interest you is a step in the right direction. One form of freelance work is taking photographs of wildlife and animals in their natural habitats. There is a specific name for animal photography it’s called wildlife photography and I will share some tips that I have learned to get the best photographs from wildlife


To successfully take photographs of wildlife there are some basic things that need to be followed. There are always exceptions but if you stick with the basics usually you can turn out some very unique and rewarding photographs for your efforts.

o Use natural lighting to your advantage.
o Fill the frame with the subject.
o Focus on the eyes.
o Shoot from various angles.
o Capture personality.

Some people have asked me if there is a way that you can fill in the frame of the subject or capture the wildlife personality you are shooting without using large cameras or SLR with huge lenses to capture them.

Well here’s the secret most wildlife photographers don’t always take there “winning” photographs in the wild like you would assume. A lot of them are captured by just visiting the zoo in your local area. A lot of places around the country that have polar bears, cats, deer etc., are just taken from their local wildlife sanctuary. Is this cheating maybe but it is a lot less expensive and a lot less dangerous with certain animals if you do. But, on top of that you can truly get some great photographs.

Doing a search of local zoos or wildlife sanctuary’s in your neighborhood can usually be done easy with a simple Google search. Try to find ones that offer special tours just for the photo enthusiast that way you have less people competing for the same space. It may cost a little bit more but your photos can be very well done even will a simple point and click.

Animal Photography Tips for Wildlife Sanctuaries and Zoos

  1. Simplify the Composition: If your subject you are photographing has a loud or distracting background. Use photo editing software to blur the background or use a setting if your camera is equipped to disrupt the background of the photo so the subject is the focus of attention.
  2. Go Natural: One thing to always be aware of is what you are taking a picture of  If you are taking pictures at the zoo you want to avoid anything in the frame like barricades, fences, and additional distractions up front. Look for those sweet spots around the tours to get the best vantage points. Again, use a good photo editor to blur what you couldn't eliminate while shooting the photo.
  3. Fill the Frame: Use zoom (optical for best quality) or a telephoto lens to get close up.
  4. Use Sports Mode: Some cameras come with action shot settings or sports settings use this to adjust shutter speed for those action shots.
  5.  Use Light and Weather to Best Effect: There are better days then others to shoot wildlife one of them is on overcast days. If the overcast is just right it will help get a decent picture of the subject you are taking without a lot of glare from the sun. If the overcast is too dark and you have an SLR, raise the ISO. With the right amount of overcast, you can get well exposed, sharp pictures with your compact, and the animals won't be squinting. Since the eyes are usually very expressive and the best place to focus, you really want to avoid squinting.
  6. Try this When Shooting through Glass: When you are filming your subject through glass there is always a flash reflection from it use your camera and place it flat against the glass and move it out about 20 degrees and adjust as needed when shooting in aquariums or ponds. If there is ample lighting you can always turn off the flash play with it and see which produces a better photo quality?
  7. Plan your Visits for the Best Photo Ops: People love looking at photographs of animals and will love it if you are able to take new photos of babies that have been born. A lot of times you can get some good exposer from the zoo by giving them permission to display their new photos on their website. Another good time to go to sanctuary’s is when it is time to feed and early in the morning this is when the animals are most active and not napping due to hot weather.
  8. Use Context: Context is very important not to widdle the animal from the frame but to add texture to your photos. For example when you have a baby looking at a animal or a giraffe is over hanging the fence to be fed by someone standing close bye.
  9. Capture Expressions: Animals just like people have certain personalities and expressions and one way to do that is to capture those moments. Even if they are normal expressions like a cat yawning. Or a tiger licking his lips each are interesting and let you learn about the different behaviors of animals. This is really helpful because of the great shots you will be able to spot before they happen.


Submit a Comment
  • maggs224 profile image


    7 years ago from Sunny Spain

    I loved this hub; I found it very interesting and useful. I will be voting it up and hitting the useful button.

    I am a keen amateur photographer and I love taking macro photographs of insects especially bees some of which I publish on RedGage.

    Publishing my photographs on RedGage is very easy I can do it one at a time and it makes me a little money. This is a way you can earn a little that is not in conflict with HubPages.

    This is one of mine if you are interested

  • Mrs. J. B. profile image

    Mrs. J. B. 

    7 years ago from Southern California

    My daughter is studying photography and is just going to love this hub. I forwarded it to her so she can read it herself. You made this so interesting and very easy to follow.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)